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Are web ads good or bad?

Today while checking in on my feeds to see whats new out there, I found a really interesting article written by Michael Martin of problogdesign.com. In his article, Michael discusses a growing trend of web users to use programs such as the adblock extension for the firefox browser. There seems to be some concern that the adblocker programs could pose a moral issue, and an interesting discussion took place that made me think heavily about the topic as I have begun to place a few ads on my site.

To quote from the site,

As is too often the case with human nature, what’s moral is much less important than what is convenient. Blanket ad blocking is not moral (How could it be?) but it is convenient to individuals. The question of morality simply does not matter. The question that matters is how much those issues will bother you.

The question that seems to be looming and growing leaves one to wonder if ad blocking is a moral issue, or merely one of convenience for the web user?

As for the morality of the adblocker programs that are out there, the creators of these programs have a niche in an area of the internet browser world that people need. Most people, myself included, get annoyed when they visit a site that has ten thousand ads all over the place. This leaves you searching for the content of the site, and chances are that you won’t be coming back. So, if you have an adblocker program installed, you won’t see much of the ads, if any. This can be a good thing for the consumer of the site, however for the site owner, it creates another issue.

As a site owner, it is my purpose to create money from my site. Whether my site is a blog promoting what ever interests me, or a commercial site selling my products, if you are blocking my ads, eventually I will be forced to find another way to promote my products. Since a lot of browsers have pop-up blockers installed already, I probably wouldn’t go that route, but there may be some alternatives. Maybe I could hijack your browser and force you to see an ad between each page you visit on my site? Sort of like the commercials during your favorite show on television.

That might be extreme, but it could be a possibility some day. With the wealth of information that is online today, and the amount of people searching, browsing and exploring the internet for information and products each day, ads are here to stay. Just pick up a newspaper and browse through it (you know, the old print medium without the keyboard and mouse) and see where the ads are in the paper.

Maybe one alternative to this approach is for the consumers to speak up and say that they won’t visit a site with an excessive amount of ads, and we as designers and site owners should be respectful of that fact. If we use ads on our sites, remember the main purpose of the person coming to our site is to see our content, not get flooded with ads.

What do you think?

2 Responses to “Are web ads good or bad?”

  1. Ryan Stamper says:

    Hi! Very good article and thanks for sharing, I really liked your blog, I think web ads are good if you know how, when and where to use them 😉

  2. elliott says:

    @ Ryan,

    Thanks for posting and visiting! I agree that ads are a growing and vital aspect to any site, not just blogs. It is how they are used, positioned, and applied that can cause issues and problems for visitors to your site.

    Thanks!

    Elliott

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